I have loved the weather since I arrived back in Tokyo this week. Clear skies and cold! Rick arrived home around noon and asked about my plans for the rest of the day. I had been up since 5am cleaning like a crazy woman and I still hadn’t finished and probably won’t until Tuesday. Monday is a national holiday and we have sumo tickets. Anyway, back to our plans…I had none, I just wanted to get out somewhere and enjoy the sunshine and crisp air. Then I remembered Jiyugaoka. Every time I ride the train to Nori’s I think, “This place looks interesting, I should get off sometime and wander around.” When I told Rick he got online and found a restaurant that Nori’s husband, Mitch had told him about. Cheap, all you can eat, sukiyaki and shabu shabu. By the time he finished, he had pages of info and maps. We found the restaurant easily.

We chose shabu shabu with a combination of beef and pork. The center of each table has an electric burner and a pot of broth was put on it immediately. Once it’s boiling you cook your own meat and vegetables and eat them with a bowl of rice.

There is a time limit on the all you can eat idea and the host was careful to tell us before we were seated that because they close at 3:00 we would not have the full time. We weren’t worried. We ate all that was served and requested a refill on rice. Then we went to a vegetable bar (think salad bar) and loaded our plate up.  The meat was delicious, but the initial serving was substantial. Our bill totaled 3150 yen, drinks were included. The last time I had shabu shabu my meal alone was over 10,000 yen. Fortunately, it was a business dinner and the company paid.

We walked around Jiyugaoka for awhile. An interesting find was a “mission” store that sold handmade items, many made of felted wool. One day I’ll go back and try to figure out what the mission is and maybe buy some gifts. There is a huge flower shop, a tiny, traditional soba noodle shop, and great little streets to wander around in.

Soba Shop